Food

When engaged in eating, the brain should be the servant of the stomach.  – Agatha Christie

Some principles of eating

What should guide us as to what we should eat? Here are some basic principles that inform me, among them: eating seasonally, locally, making sure it's organic, fresh, mostly raw/live, vegan, nutrient-dense and macrobiotic. I also like the inherent simplicity of eating a mix of rainbow-coloured foods every day, which does not include the brekkie cereal Fruit Loops! Read on

 

And while we’re on the subject of simplicity, add aroma and taste to colour. In other words, eat a mix of aromas and tastes as well as colour.

 

Recipes: The Goop, All-year-round salad, Soaked dried fruit

Breakfast (aka The Goop)

My breakfast, called The Goop, is mostly a mix of nutrient-dense superfoods, favouring antioxidants (red-purple foods) and green foods. I find it sustains me for quite a few hours. I make about two weeks’ worth at a time and store it in a large jar in the fridge, to save on daily prep time. Ignore the colour, it’s the taste you’re after and the boost to the day.

 

The Goop is available for purchase, tailored to suit your specific dietary needs. As it’s a powder, it can be added to smoothies and will bulk and cream up the smoothie very nicely. 

Contact me for more details.

 

The Goop Basics Mix

(in alphabetical order)

  • Acai berry powder

  • Amla powder (aka Indian gooseberry)

  • Ashwagandha powder

  • Astragalus powder

  • Baobab powder

  • Bee pollen

  • Bilberry powder

  • Camu camu powder

  • Carob powder (truly raw)

  • Cat’s claw powder

  • Cinnamon (true Ceylon)

  • Chlorella

  • Dulse powder

  • Dragonfruit powder (pitaya)

  • Davidson plum powder

  • E3 AFA (Aphanizomenon flos-aquae) powder

  • Ginger powder

  • Gingko Biloba powder

  • Ginseng root powder

  • Gotu Kola powder

  • Graviola powder

  • Gubinge

  • Hawthorn berry powder

  • He Shou Wu powder

  • Horny Goat Weed powder

  • Lucuma

  • Maca

  • Maqui berry powder

  • Mesquite meal

  • Moringa

  • MSM powder

  • Nopal powder

  • Ormus greens

  • Pomegranate juice powder

  • Purple Corn Extract

  • Quandong powder

  • Rehmannia powder

  • Reishi powder

  • Riberry powder

  • Saw Palmetto (for prostate, for men)

  • Schisandra berry powder

  • Shilajit

  • Spirulina

  • Stevia powder

  • Vanilla powder

 

Other ingredients per serving

  • 1–2 tbsp flax seeds (golden or brown linseeds)

  • 1 tbsp hemp seeds

  • 1 tsp hemp protein powder

  • 1 tbsp chia seeds

  • 1 tbsp brown rice/Pea (50/50) protein powder (sprouted, fermented and dehydrated, about 80% protein)

  • 1–2 tbsp coconut yogurt

  • (optional) for a bit of chewiness/crunch, 1 tbsp activated buckwheat (aka plain buckinis) (sprouted and dehydrated) as is (don’t grind)

  • (optional) If the stevia isn’t enough for your taste, a sweetener such as coconut sugar or coconut nectar — a mineral-rich, low GI (35) cane sugar alternative, produced from coconut palm blossoms — or extra raw carob powder can be added to taste.

 

Method

  1. A typical serving is about 4-5 tsps of the basic Goop mix in a bowl (about 20-25g)

  2. In a coffee grinder, grind flaxseeds to a powder and add to the mix

  3. Add chia seeds, hemp seeds (can be ground), hemp protein powder, brown rice/pea protein powder 

  4. Add coconut yogurt and stir through

  5. Add filtered water or coconut water to form a thick paste 

  6. Let sit overnight in the fridge and you should end up with a thick custard-like porridge or pudding-like consistency, though if you prefer it runnier, add more liquid. It’s quite quick to prepare and can be either eaten at home or taken to work.

  7. (optional) Garnish with extra coconut yogurt. 

     

 
 

 All-year-round salad
Salads aren’t only a summer thing. While it makes perfect sense in summer because they are generally cooling, even in the depths of winter, a salad can be both filling and warming. Here’s how.

 

The key to any salad (or any meal) is using in-season produce. This is all-important because winter greens and vegetables perfectly complement the cool weather and with a little thought can warm you up. It’s all about striking the balance. When I first learned to cook, it was based on macrobiotics — mostly eating according to the season and based on what you’re doing in life. I still keep the core principles, I've just applied them to a largely raw/live food diet. We all evolve, do we not?

 

I’m not a big fan of quantities in recipes. I think they’re more important, for instance, in dessert recipes, but, for me, salads are something I make up as I go. Once you know what tastes right by way of adding extra flavour (sweet, salt, bitter, sour), you're away. I also feel salads only require simple dressings to make them work.

 

KEY INGREDIENTS

• The bulk of any salad should ideally be greens such as kale, fresh herbs (eg, dandelion, parsley, nasturtium), Asian greens (eg, bok choy), silverbeet, English spinach, lettuces, chard, many of which grow in the cooler months anyway. Red and dark green leafy vegetables are generally higher in antioxidants, and Vitamin B6.

• Activated nuts and seeds (see Soak your nuts and seeds) or fats (avocados, oils)

• Spices, eg, turmeric, cumin, coriander, parsley

• A little salt but in the form of, say, miso, tamari, umeboshi vinegar or umeboshi paste.

 

Not everything in a salad has to be raw. Adding some cooked food could be just the trick, especially in winter, and especially if sharing food with others for whom eating a salad in winter is normally out of the question. When sharing a salad in winter with family and/or friends, I will often add a little (about 30% of the meal) baked/steamed root vegetables such as kumera, sweet potato, Jerusalem artichoke, parsnips, swedes or pumpkin — although pumpkin, in particular butternut, can be grated and, if desired, lightly steamed. Alternatively, I might marinate finely-diced fresh tempeh in tamari and coconut oil and lightly sautée.

 

METHOD (for one serve)

Take a couple of handfuls of leafy greens, enough when finely diced to fill half a large bowl (say 20cm in diameter), discarding any overly woody stems (eg, kale stems) and add

  • a handful of activated nuts/seeds or a half avocado, cubed

  • a teaspoon of powdered spices — I like a mix of turmeric, coriander, cumin, fennel and ginger, which will get the digestion going. I also sometimes add a pinch of mountain pepper, an Australian native pepper.

  • a little salt: teaspoon of miso or umeboshi (salted plum) paste added to a little water to make a runny paste or a splash of tamari or umeboshi vinegar or a high-quality salt such as Himalayan salt/sea salt/lake salt

  • some vegetables (zucchini, purple carrots, yacon), grated or diced

  • (option) Add seaweed in the form of chopped dulse or soaked wakame or kombu or torn unroasted nori

  • (option) Add diced olives instead of nuts or avocado

  • (option) Add any cooked root vegetables (moreso in the cooler months) or warmed tamari-marinated tempeh instead of avocado or other higher-fat nuts such as brazils, macadamias.

  • (option) macadamia nut butter or tahini made into a paste with a little water instead of avocado and other nuts

  • (option) In simple green salads, a squeeze of lemon or lime to taste (half a regular lemon or lime per person is plenty) with a little tamari or salt to taste.

 

 
 

Soaked dried fruit

Dried fruit is such a convenient food to snack on simply because it’s so easy to eat straight from the packet or jar and therefore to overdo it and end up in a sugar headspin. When you soak them, you’re less likely to eat as much. Soon after I began soaking, I noticed I didn’t need or want as much fruit to feel the benefit and to feel full. Soaked mango is almost akin to slurping fresh mango and apricots and figs will have you thinking you’re eating caramel lollies! Then there’s the juice, which has one of the most intense fruit liqueurs, rivalling Lloyd’s grape juice.

 

NOTE: Dried fruit usually has more calories and sugar because the dehydration process removes much of the water normally found in the fruit. That missing water makes the fresh fruit larger than the dried fruit, so there would be more pieces of dried fruit in the same serving size. For example, one grape has seven calories and one raisin has seven calories. However, while one cup of grapes has about 60 calories, a cup of raisins has more than 400 calories. Simply, more raisins fit into one cup so that means one cup of raisins has more sugar and calories than one cup of grapes.

 

Ingredients Up to a half dozen pieces of any dried fruit (cherries, peaches, nectarines, figs, apricots, incan berries, mango). Whole dried bananas don’t work, dried banana slices will.

 

Method Place in a small jar (about 175g), cover with about twice as much water, pop the lid on and leave overnight or for up to 8 hours in the day. If you want to speed up the process, warm the water to 40°C, a little above lukewarm. Enjoy them for breakfast, either on their own or with your usual cereal or added to cakes, puddings. Ideal for camping, bushwalking or travel.

 

Food combining

Food combining is based on the principle that specific combinations promote digestion and nutrient absorption. Combining food well can also dramatically reduce the energy required for digestion, thus leaving you with more physical and mental energy, improved digestion and overall better health. Read on

View the food combining chart.

 

 

Soak your nuts and seeds

Nuts are by and large good for us, and we use them in so many dishes, particularly if we’re vegetarian. So it might come as a bit of a surprise to learn we mightn’t be getting the most out of them. In fact, we might not be digesting them very well at all and not because we’re not chewing them enough either.

 

It turns out nuts and seeds have enzyme inhibitors that can put a strain on our digestive systems. You’ll know it when you feel stomach pain, and/or bloated and have gas!

 

The reason these enzyme inhibitors are there in the first place is to ensure the nuts and seeds don’t sprout prematurely. It makes sense: they benefit optimally from being in the right environment and time of the year to germinate and grow. These protective inhibitors are removed naturally when there’s enough water to sustain a new plant after the seed germinates. When we soak our nuts and seeds we release these enzyme inhibitors and make digestion easier by reducing phytic acid, which inhibits vitamin and mineral absorption. 

 

In short, when we soak, we mimic nature. The native peoples in Central America have long soaked their nuts and seeds, for example, the Aztecs would soak pumpkin or squash seeds in seawater and then dry them in the sun.

 

THE HOW-TO 

  1. Place the quantity of nuts/seeds you want for the particular meal in a glass jar or bowl with double the amount of either spring or filtered water, e.g., 2 cups of water for a cup of nuts/seeds. Optional: Add a little high-quality salt (sea, Himalayan), say 1/4 tsp per 1/2 cup of nuts. Leave on the bench for the appropriate soak time (see below) 

  2. Drain and rinse very well. Discard the soak water.

  3. Either refrigerate and eat within 3 days or use straight away either as is, in nut milks, vegetable blends, salads or whatever dish you’re preparing. If refrigerating, rinse with a little organic apple cider vinegar, which will clean them of any bacteria without being absorbed.

  4. (optional) Soaked nuts/seeds can be blended or dried slowly (on a tray covered with cheesecloth in the sun or in a dehydrator or a very low-heat oven) and then ground into a meal.

  5. Storage Buy seeds and nuts in small quantities because if kept too long they can turn rancid. Store them in a cool, dry place in airtight containers away from the light. In summer, it’s best to refrigerate them. Nuts in their shells usually store better and for longer.

 

SPECIFIC REQUIREMENTS

 

NUTS

 

ALMONDS Soak at least 8-12 hours, or overnight.

• To make a nut milk, blend and strain pre-soaked almonds through cheesecloth.

 

BRAZIL NUTS Brazils have minimal amounts of enzyme inhibitors compared to other nuts so do not need to be soaked, however, they do have a rich, creamy flavour, so make good nut milks. For the best flavour, soak brazils overnight, strain the water, and then use, eg, in cacao smoothies.

 

CASHEWS If you can get the truly raw cashews âall the better. While they don't need to be soaked, if soaked 3-4 hours or overnight (no more than 6 hours) they will make an excellent cashew cream or milk when blended. And because they are one of the most addictive nuts, it might be best to limit them and only eat them when soaked and/or then blended into a cream and added to a green salad could be a real winner if they are hard to resist.

 

HAZELNUTS These nuts have lesser amounts of enzyme inhibitors and so don't need to be soaked, however, their flavour is greatly improved by soaking. So soak them 8 hours or overnight for a richer, creamier flavour that works well in nut milks and creams and smoothies.

 

MACADAMIAS These nuts are quite firm and remain unchanged when soaked so, therefore, do not need to be soaked but can be to soften them and to enhance their flavour. If soaking, 7 hours or overnight should do it.

 

PECANS Soak 8 hours or overnight

 

PINE NUTS Soak at least 7 hours or overnight

 

WALNUTS Soak 8 hours or overnight. Shelled walnuts are more susceptible to rancidity and so should always be stored in the fridge.

 

SEEDS

 

CHIA Ideally, soak chia seeds at least 8 hours or overnight (one tablespoon of seed to two cups of water). Soaked chia, which is gelatinous, can be eaten as is or added to smoothies and blends. Chia can also be sprouted as you would alfalfa and added to salads and sandwiches.

 

LINSEEDS Aka flaxseeds, linseeds come in two varieties: brown and golden. They have a very tough casing and if eaten whole will pass straight through you whole, along with all their nutritional value. They are best ground and added soaked (30 minutes) to smoothies or your breakfast mix, e.g., The Goop. Never cook linseeds or their oil (flaxseed oil) as the heat will render them unstable. Store in a cool and dry place. If ground, refrigerate.

 

PEPITAS (pumpkin seeds). Soak these at least 8 hours or overnight; allow them to just begin to sprout, rinsing every 4 hours.

 

SESAME SEEDS Soak at least 8 hours for hulled (white) and black; 4-6 hours for the unhulled (brown). At minimum, sesame seeds should be ground into a meal or eaten in the form of tahini in preference to eating them whole to improve absorption.

 

SUNFLOWER SEEDS Soak 6-8 hours for hulled sunflower seeds (light grey in colour)

 

MORE INFO 

rawmazing.com

chia seeds​​

 

The acid-alkaline balance

Because the body’s pH level is slightly alkaline — around 7.4, the pH of the blood — it is thought our diet should reflect this and also be slightly alkaline. An imbalanced diet high in acidic foods such as animal protein, sugar, caffeine, and processed foods tends to disrupt this balance and can deplete the body of alkaline minerals such as sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium, making people prone to chronic and degenerative disease. Read on

Fasting

Fasting is arguably one of the most powerful of all the tools for cleansing the body. And with most of us ingesting an array of preservatives, chemical additives, pesticides, heavy metals,  medication and nicotine — even if we don’t smoke — as well as accumulating toxic waste products from poorly combined food and from overeating, regular fasting is even more important than ever. Read on

When to eat breakfast (and it’s not when you get up)

We’ve long been told not to miss breakfast; it’s the most important meal of the day. Well, it is important, but not necessarily first thing in the morning. Surprisingly, eating breakfast when you get up will actually make you hungrier than if you hadn’t eaten — and within as little as half an hour of eating.

 

Although it might seem like the right thing to do after an overnight sleep — refuel the body to begin a new day and all the associated activities it brings — it turns out eating first thing in the morning coincides with what’s called your circadian cortisol peak, the time of day when your cortisol (stress hormone) levels rise and reach their peak. This peak leads to a rapid and significant release of insulin, and a corresponding drop in blood sugar levels — more than at any other time of the day. If you’re healthy, your blood sugar levels won’t drop to a dangerously low level — as can happen with hypoglycemia — but they can drop low enough to make you feel hungry, even if you've just eaten.

 

As it takes around six to eight hours for the body to metabolise its glycogen stores, only then do you begin to shift to burning fat. For those of us trying to keep an eye on our weight — and that’s a lot of us these days — it’s when you burn up stored fat that you shed the kilos. However, if you're replenishing your glycogen by eating at least every eight hours, you’re making it harder for your body to use your fat stores as fuel. Leaving more than eight and up to 16 hours between the evening meal and breakfast allows us to begin burning stored fat. If we eat our evening meal between 6-8pm, adding 16 hours will mean eating breakfast between 10am and noon the next day. As a lot of us these days eat our evening meal late — say 9pm, especially in summer — it’s best not to eat breakfast first thing anyway; a little fast in the morning can help you keep the weight in check. (If you’re not worried about weight gain and don’t have excess kilos, you can happily ignore this advice.)

 

Quite a few years ago, I intuitively began eating breakfast later and later, to the point now where I rarely eat before midday; my evening meal is about 6-7pm. Surprisingly, not eating first thing hasn't impeded my physical and mental activity. Provided I drink enough liquid to meet my thirst in the morning, I've had no trouble functioning well until later in the morning. It might take some getting used to initially, and in fact, it might be best to make a gradual transition to later breakfasts. The warmer months are often a good time to start making the shift. You still have breakfast, just later; it is, after all, a meal that breaks the overnight fast.

 

And leaving eight to 16 hours does make some sense from an anthropological viewpoint: our ancestors would not have been able to eat around the clock as we can today, so we would have evolved to manage with intermittent fasting.

 

NOTE In the 1950s, renowned French-American nutritionist, Jean Mayer developed the ‘glucostatic theory’, in which he proposed that low blood sugar served as the primary hunger-trigger that prompts us to feed. Later studies showed that appetite regulation is far more complex than that, but there’s clearly a role for blood glucose in this equation.

 

More reading

Grow your own Pineapples

You don't have to live in the tropics to grow your own pineapples. As long as the climate is temperate and frost-free and you have a sunny spot — even a balcony with plenty of sun will do — you can be in the pineapple business. I live on the east coast of Australia and have grown them since 2010 (see images below). They do take a while, up to two years from planting, but if you plant them in the right spot, you'll be well-rewarded. There is something inexplicable about eating a naturally-ripened pineapple; there's a sweetness that is worth the wait. And it's quite easy.

 

STEP 1 After you've eaten most of your pineapple, set aside the top plus about 20mm of the flesh left. That bit isn't as tasty as the rest anyway.

 

STEP 2 Prepare a well-draining spot in the garden, preferably north-facing (southern hemisphere) or a large pot (20cm diameter will do) for that sunny balcony or patio or deck. Use a well-aged composted soil or organic potting mix.

 

STEP 3 Place the cut flesh part of the pineapple top in the soil and water in. Water for first few days, then leave to dry out a bit, then water. Emulate the tropics, or if you grow bromeliads, use them as a guide. Once established, that is, new leaves appear, they pretty much look after themselves. (Some growers say you should dry the cut piece for a day before planting; I've not done that and it works: just plant the fleshy part straight into the soil.)

Here’s a video from the legendary Mr Green Thumb you can check out. 

left Starting out: pineapple at flowering stage

right Pineapple after about five months growing through the summer into autumn

left The fully-ripe pineapple

right Harvested

 
 
 
 

Information on this website is not intended to be a substitute for professional health care and medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem without first consulting a qualified health care provider. Please consult your health care provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition or ways in which to use alternative medicine. Each person’s body is different and will react differently to various foods and herbs as well as vitamin and mineral supplements. Therefore, any supplementation must be considered on an individual basis and take into account any medications in use. Use the information found on this website as precisely that: Information only.